Lab-Grown Coffee
New advancements in agricultural technology are making it possible to produce sustainable coffee that can be grown in any location. Scientists in Finland have recently created lab-grown coffee. According to the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, scientists employed cellular agriculture to produce coffee cells. The end result was coffee with an aroma and taste similar to regular coffee, marking the very first batch of coffee produced in Finland. The cold climate in Finland is unsuitable for coffee-growing, but cellular agriculture has made it possible to produce coffee in any location regardless of the climate of the area. Cellular agriculture has the potential to increase food production and solve many of the world’s problems.

The Global Coffee Industry

The coffee industry uses more water than people might expect. According to the United States Geological Survey, the world needs “about 120 billion cubic meters of water” annually to produce coffee. This means that of all of the water used for crop production, about 2% exclusively goes toward producing coffee. In a world where droughts are becoming more severe and environmental challenges are evident, it is necessary to develop innovative solutions that bring to the forefront the possibility of producing more crops while also using less water.

Cellular agriculture can make it possible for more people to produce coffee. People can earn significant incomes working in the coffee industry, allowing impoverished people the opportunity to rise out of poverty with a livelihood and an income. However, the coffee industry has some limitations. According to Business Wire, the global coffee market was worth about $102.02 billion in 2020 alone. However, right now, the only nations that can produce large amounts of coffee are countries that possess ideal areas and conditions for thriving coffee crops. Currently, “Brazil and Vietnam account for the highest production of coffee, in terms of volume, owing to suitable coffee growing conditions.”

The Benefits of Cellular Agriculture

If cellular agriculture becomes mainstream, any nation will be able to produce coffee and more people will be able to earn an income by working in the coffee industry. By implementing cellular agriculture to produce coffee, concerns about growing coffee trees fall away and coffee industry workers can focus on less taxing types of work within the coffee industry.

When cellular agriculture becomes more mainstream, potential coffee growers will not have to worry about adequate land access for crops and a suitable climate to produce coffee. Lab-grown coffee is exempt from problems like droughts, diseases and transportation issues prevalent in the conventional coffee industry. Lab-grown coffee also does not contribute to problems like deforestation and water shortages as it does not require land and excessive water use. In an interview with the New Atlas, VTT Research Institute scientist Dr. Heiko Rischer said that “These solutions have a lower water footprint and less transport is needed due to local production. There isn’t any seasonal dependency or the need for pesticides either.”

Looking Ahead

Lab-grown coffee is just one example of efficient crop production through the help of cellular agriculture. Cellular agriculture is still a relatively new concept, but it is capable of solving many of the world’s economic and environmental problems. Cellular agriculture can make it possible to sustainably provide food for more people while reducing harm to the environment. Unsustainable food-producing practices keep people in poverty, but cellular agriculture can help end many causes of poverty while ensuring a sustainable solution to global food insecurity.

– Frank Decapio
Photo: Flickr